medical school

Medical article databases

One of the most important fields in medicine is research. This should come as no surprise as there’s still so much to learn about the human body and disorders related to it. As a medical student it’s extremely important to stay up to date and read in on these subjects and to learn more about the (r)evolutions in our health system.
There are a lot of databases where you’ll be able to find articles on medical research and today I’ll be talking about the best general databases.

1. Google Scholar

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Google scholar is most definitely the best way to find the most scientific articles on any subject. You’ll be able to view the number of citations (a value to determine the impact) as well as the journal where the article was published and the publication year.
There is one thing I dislike about using google scholar. The filter system is quite impractical. Nevertheless you’ll be able to find a lot of articles extending over many different scientific topics. Google scholar will also show the number of citations, journal where the article was published and the publication year.

2. PubMed

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PubMed has a lot of different features and therefore learning how to work with the system is a challenge on itself. You’ll have to navigate your way around MeSH-terms and the search builder, subject topics etc, however when you finally know how to work with it, it’s actually a pretty nice database to work with.
You will definitely not find as many articles as you would in Google Scholar, however there is a good amount of articles that are closely related to your topic of choice. The filters are easy to use and will help you to narrow your topic down more clearly.

3. Embase
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One of the more esthetically pleasing databases is Embase (yes, I really like Embase). It’s easy to use and works similar to PubMed but you search via Emtree terms instead of MeSH terms. You can view your previous search inquiries and the amount of articles related to it.

4. Extra
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I also wanted to talk about Web of science where you’ll be able to find the impact factor, the number of citations. This is an easy way to have an overview on the importance of your article as well as the journal it was published in.

P.S. I prefer to use general databases as they offer a great variation of articles but if you only want to read the most important articles on certain subjects you might want to take a look at different options such as Medline, TRIP, Cochrane etc.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what sources you turn too to find scientific articles.

Lots of love
-M. Doctor in spe

 

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The importance of blood donation

Blood donation is one of the most important necessities in a hospital. Donated blood has many uses. It can be used in standard procedures or it can be used in ambulant help. Even though it’s on of the biggest necessities a lack of blood donors still occurs in many different countries.

Why is it important to donate blood?
It’s used in many surgeries, even in accidents people are often in need of blood which is provided by blood donors. Due to various reasons people don’t want to give blood or they’re not allowed to give blood. This can cause a lack of blood donors and therefore a deficit in blood supplies. Giving blood keeps the chain going and is therefore important!

Who can donate blood?
People aged 17-66 and have a BMI within range can donate blood. Before the blood donation you’ll see a doctor who will ask you some questions about your health. This is to make sure that the blood you’re donating is ‘clean’.
There are a lot of rules that need to be taken into account before giving blood. Depending on where you’re giving blood you’ll be able to check the conditions online.

Note: if you’re not able to donate blood, you might still be able to donate blood plasma as it doesn’t contain red blood cells. Blood plasma is then used to treat people with coagulation diseases.

Where to donate blood? 
There are donation centers where you’ll be able to donate blood. You could also donate blood to a local hospital.
In America there are two main blood donation centers the ‘American red cross’ and ‘America’s blood centers’ where you can donate blood. In the U.K. the blood donation happens via NHS.

I hope that I’ve informed you about blood donation. As usual make sure to check with your GP before donating blood. This is to make sure that you’re not harming yourself or someone else by donating.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you’ve donated blood before in the comments down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

One year blogging and going strong!

It’s been exactly one year since my first ever blogpost and I wanted to talk about blogging in general and the amazing things I got to learn from medical students around the world. I never thought I would reach anything or anyone with this blog. I made this blog to take others on my journey to becoming a doctor and to show all of the amazing things I get to do as a student. There is most definitely not enough appreciation for the amazing opportunities we get in and outside our classroom.

I want my blog to inspire med/premed students or anyone to start a blog. You can never imagine how many amazing things you’ll get to experience while having a blog. This blog has in the short span of a year given me the opportunity to virtually meet other medical students and talk about subjects that are often taboo or subjects that we’re not familiar with. It gave me the opportunity to get to know medical students all around the world.

I also learned a lot of things that I haven’t learned in my textbooks. I learned more about mental health, about the amazing charities that are making a difference every day. I also read a lot more books and expanded my view on life.

I also started using social media more often! You can follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I’m not an avid social media user but I try to upload from time to time!

This blog and this year have been a great adventure so far and I couldn’t thank you guys enough to come on this journey with me. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did and that I was able to teach you guys some things along the way or just inspire you to study med or start a blog.

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Essentialism summary and review

I recently read essentialism which is a book about ‘the disciplined pursuit of less’. The book was written by Greg McKeown CEO and founder of THIS, inc in Silicon Valley. He has achieved quite a lot and he thanks most of it to essentialism.

What’s this book about and what’s essentialism?
The book talks about how people are often doing unproductive things and saying yes to every opportunity in their life instead of focussing on one task. By putting their effort into just one task they’ll end up having one decent task, instead of multiple unfinished tasks.

The book describes a difference between the essentialist and the non-essentialist. The non-essentialist believes that he/she is able to do everything at once. In our society it’s often expected of people that they are non-essentialists and are able to do everything at once. In reality (and according to the author) doing this leads to a whole bunch of nothing. You can’t have it all or do it all.

To be an essentialist, you have to make sacrifices and even say no when you don’t have many alternatives. You have to focus on one thing before moving on to the next and you have to make a clear difference between what’s really important and what’s not.

My opinion on the book
I read this book after ‘the subtle art of not giving a fuck’ and ‘mindset’ and it was a great read. It was quite a short book which was pleasantly surprising and like most of these types of books it was an easy read.
I liked how the term essentialism was introduced and then elaborated. There were many examples that showed the life of different essentialists often in the corporate life. The only thing I personally didn’t like was that a lot of the examples given, were about people working in or running a company. Nevertheless all rules of essentialism can be applied to anyones life.

I would advise this book to people who are doing it all, but aren’t finishing much. It’s probably the shortest book I’ve read and reviewed and I promise that you won’t lose much time reading it. You will gain knowledge on ways to spend your time better and you’ll hopefully learn to differentiate important matters from less important matters.

Let me know in the comment section which books you’ve read and would recommend. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Anatomy videos

While I was studying for my anatomy course past year I must admit that I had a hard time. Anatomy is one of those courses where you need to get a lot of information in your brain in a short period of time. What helped me most, especially for anatomy, were videos. There are obviously a ton of videos online but these were the ones I found most useful because they helped me visualize the material and they contained a lot of mnemonics.

1. Medzcool
I loved the mnemonics that were used and explained in these videos. Especially for the cranial nerves. If you prefer other mnemonics than the ones mentioned in the video, check out the comment section!

 

2. Dr. Preddy
Give this man an award asap! If you don’t have enough time to learn all the arm and hand muscles this is your man! He is able to teach all of the arm muscles and their innervation in two brief videos! These videos are filmed by students but they’re useful nevertheless.

Arm muscles part 1
Arm muscles part 2

3. AnatomyZone
The youtube channel of anatomy zone contains almost all information about myology! These videos show our muscles from all angles which helps to memorize origin and insertion points. These also give a good image of the location of each muscle, artery and vein.
There is also an AnatomyZone site where you can find all of these videos for free you can click on the link to check it out!

I hope you enjoyed this post and found these tips useful. Medical students often rely on tips coming from fellow medical students and having a lot of tips definitely makes a difference when it comes to studying effectively. If you have tips that are helpful to study anatomy (or other courses) leave them in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

 

SYNAP – reblog

Today I wanted to share Synap with you. It’s a fairly new concept and as a medical student I can do no more but to promote amazing work other medical students are able to put out there. Synap is one of them. You can find all the information regarding Synap down below or on their blog.

REBLOG: Synap is an online education platform created by two medical students – James Gupta and Omair Vaiyani – to make studying easier. Synap lets you create, practice and share Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with your friends.

We have a huge range of practice questions and exam banks for doctors, nurses, dentists and physician’s associates – including some premium content provided by Oxford University Press written for final year medical exams, and the specialty board exams such as MRCP, FRCA, FRCP and MRCS.

To learn more about how Synap works, check out the short animation below!

 

What I loved most about Synap is that it’s an interdisciplinary site so it’s not only great for doctors but also for nurses and dentists!

Thanks for passing by! If you enjoyed this post check out SYNAP via links above and let me know in the comment section what you think of it!

Lots of love
– A doctor in spe

Changing my study method

The new school year has begun for some of you and I wanted to update you on my new study method since it might help you! I’ve switched it up quite a lot and I’ve finally found a good way to make sure that I know my courses better. Since courses in med school are quite voluminous having a good study technique really makes a difference. I make sure that during class I write down what’s important. I follow the slides that are projected on a big screen and make sure that I listen to what the professor says. That way I can understand the most important concepts in our books.

The studying process is something that’s often pushed back to the weekend. Before studying I read my notes and then start. Everything in these courses is valuable information and needs to be known. There is no such thing as more important/less important (unfortunately 😦 )! Instead of just using one study method I now use a combination of different techniques. This helps me to make a difference in concepts I fully and concepts that need more time.

First method: there are parts of my books that I read multiple times and make sure that I understand what I’m reading. This doesn’t take a lot of time and I do this multiple times per day or even per week to make sure that I still know what the course is all about.

The second method that I like, is making question sheets on a part of my course. I make these sheets for parts of my course that I have trouble memorizing and I’ve noticed that this technique forces me to really actively read and my notes. I only do this for several parts of my courses because writing questions down takes up time.

Last but not least the third technique I use is making resumes of my printed notes. I personally don’t advise going for this technique in med school. I feel like while making these I’m not actively thinking about the subject I’m studying. Making resumes doesn’t only take a lot of time it makes you have less time to revise and consolidate the information – this technique didn’t work as well for me as the other two techniques but I do like to make these before going into my classes.

The key to these techniques is not about the time you put in making them. It’s about actively making them and thinking about everything that’s important. Active studying is more efficient and will help you memorize everything faster.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what study technique you prefer in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Reflections on my first year of med

Humans are organisms that are constantly changing. Some people change quickly whereas others take a little more time. I personally changed a lot in my first year of medical school and I learned a lot as well. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I learned that medical school is hard work. It’s a constant struggle to get everything together before exams start. It’s a struggle to work consistently every day. There were days that I just felt like all of my efforts never seemed enough. I had no choice but to accept it and move on. Hard work often pays off but sometimes it doesn’t.

I learned that med school ment making sacrifices. This summer I reflected a lot and I actually liked studying during my vacation. The reason behind this is that I genuinely like medicine. I like it so much that I’d give up anything in the world to struggle my way through even if all those struggles lead to average results.

I learned that there are always going to be people who gossip (even in university!) and that most of it goes around behind you back. Take my advise and don’t worry about it, there are more important matters in the world :).

I learned the importance of having good friends that motivate you, that are ready to help whenever you need help and that are honest when needed. Big thanks to the people motivated me through my exams, they made me feel more at ease and less stressful which helped me a lot!

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know in the comment section what you learned at uni or in college.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

Medical stationary gifts

I recently saw a picture on Instagram that had bone balpens and while I was searching for these I came across these amazing school/college supplies. Most of these would make great gifts and they can be found on various sites such as Aliexpress, Amazon and Etsy. So without further ado here are some great gifts for medical students.

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1. Sticky notes
I found these great sticky notes on Amazon, these are pricier than your regular sticky notes but they’re unique and quirky. There are quite a few options to choose from so definitely check these out!
Link: Amazon

2. Memo holder
This is definitely the most unique gift out on this list. It’s a brain shaped memo holder made out of concrete. These are made in the Netherlands and you can find these on Etsy or on the manufacturers site.
Link: Manufacturers site
Link: Etsy

3. Pen
A funny gift for students who are tackling anatomy and learning all bones in the human body. These balpens are quite affordable and can be found on Amazon and on Aliexpress.
Note: since Aliexpress can sometimes be unreliable I’ve tried to filter out two companies that have sold the most and had the best reviews.
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Aliexpress
Link: Amazon

4. Erasers
I found these cool brain shaped eraser tops on Amazon but you can also buy these on Etsy. They come in different colours and are a great addition to your medical stationary.
Link: Amazon
Link: Etsy

5. Tape
I never knew about DNA tape but it’s a clever take on regular tape. You can use this to decorate your note books. This tape also comes in a spinal tape version and you can buy both of these together on Amazon.
Link DNA tape: Amazon
Link spinal tape: Amazon

6. Markers
These come in many different shapes but two stood out to me. The first were pill shaped markers. I personally loved these from Amazon because of the bottle they came in.
The second shape were syringe shaped markers which you can find almost everywhere.
Link pill markers: Amazon
Link syringe markers: Amazon

I hope you enjoyed this stationary as much as I did! Let me know in the comment section which stationary item you liked most.

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe

College supplies: the basics

The new school year is coming up and I wanted to talk about some stuff that come in handy when you’re in college or university. When I started university my biggest issue were the long hours of lectures with only short breaks in between. Everyday I came to my lectures there was always something I had forgotten. So here are the basics that everyone needs.

1. A good backpack goes a long way!
Go for comfort over fashion! I suggest buying a laptop backpack since these are often more comfortable. They usually have padding so your stuff will be protected while you’re carrying it with you and they are roomy.
Looking online I found some basic laptop backpacks from Incase they definitely have a nice design but since theses quite pricy I’ve listed an alternative from Amazon!

 

2. Water bottle
You will be attending classes for long periods of time and it’s nice to have water wherever you go. My university has taps in each campus so you can fill your water bottle. Buying a water bottle is better for your wallet and for the environment! The S’well water bottles were very famous this year and they come in lots of different colors and designs. If you prefer a classic design, go for klean kanteen.

3. Foldable rain coat
The weather here is very unpredictable as it is in most countries. Having a foldable rain coat helps a lot! If you don’t like unflattering rain coats you could also buy a foldable umbrella. This foldable rain coat is from Uniqlo and only costs 39$. You can throw it in your backpack and you’ll be good to go!

4. Good notebook
One thing I struggled with was writing my notes down and not loosing them. In the middle of the year I ended up going for a spiral notebook. My favorite ones are from Oxford but these can be quite expensive. I found some notebooks on Amazon which were on sale. You can check those out via this link.

 

5. Good pencil case
My pencil case was made of canvas and I’ve had it for a very long time. Somehow my fountain pen made a hole inside my pencil case making it look terrible. A good pencil case is a must! I found this a few on amazon. One from Kuuqa and IDream.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what’s on your college supply list in the comment section down below!

Lots of love
-A doctor in spe